WH Smith Takes Entire Site Offline After Porn E-book Scandal
LONDON — WH Smith, calling some of its e-book titles it sells "unacceptable," has taken its entire U.K. site offline until all "abuse-themed" titles are removed from its product listings.
The move by the brick-and-mortar and online retailer, comes after last week's revelation by technology news site The Kernel that Amazon, WH Smith, Barnes & Noble and other retailers were selling "porn e-books" featuring incest, rape and bestiality on their sites.
WH Smith takes e-book content — about 1 million titles — from Kobo.com, which said in a statement that it was "working quickly to review its catalog and remove the content, authors and publishers in question."
E-books have grown in popularity along with e-readers and tablet computers, but retailers have been struggling to filter explicit adult content that breaches their website guidelines.
WH Smith officials said that due to the massive amount of self publishing, "a number of these titles got through the screening process."
Visitors to the WHSmith.co.uk website in the meantime have been greeted by a flash-page statement that says: "Our website will become live again once all self published e-books have been removed and we are totally sure that there are no offending titles available."